Two Sydney men charged over money laundering activities

Editor’s Note: Vision of the cash seizure is available for download.

Two Malaysian nationals have been charged following an Australian Federal Police-led Taskforce Vanguard investigation that resulted in the seizure of $350,000 in cash.

TF Vanguard investigators launched Operation Avarus-Bellum in November 2021, after receiving intelligence from the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) about Australian currency being moved offshore through cryptocurrency exchanges.

The investigation led police to the alleged money laundering activities of two Malaysian nationals in the Mt Druitt, Western Sydney area.

On 19 November 2021, AFP officers arrested a 37-year-old Rosebery man after observing him deposit $20,000 at a bank in the NSW suburb of St. Marys.

AFP officers then questioned a 38-year-old Ashfield man, who was waiting in a vehicle parked close to the bank. Police allege the man was an associate of the 37-year-old and officers located approximately $350,000 in cash in the man’s possession.

Both men have been charged with dealing in proceeds of crime more than $100,000, contrary to section 400.9 (1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for up to three years or 180 penalty points.

Police will allege in court that between September and November 2021 more than $2 million was moved offshore through Australian bank accounts linked to the men.

The 38-year-old man will face Burwood Local Court today (7 December 2021), while the 37-year-old man is expected to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on 13 December 2021.  

AFP Detective Superintendent Craig Bellis said illicit drug importations and the movement of money go hand-in-hand.

“We are working closely with our law enforcement partners both here and overseas to disrupt the movement of proceeds of crime including cash,” he said.

“These arrests are a reminder to organized crime groups both in Australia and abroad that AFP investigators will not allow them to profit at the expense of our communities.”

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